How to Clean Boat Fenders

by Felicia Greene
Boat fenders can become soiled with dock debris and marine growth.

Boat fenders can become soiled with dock debris and marine growth.

Boat fenders are buoyant vinyl structures available in many shapes, sizes and colors. A vessel's crew places fenders between the boat and a dock or other hard surface to prevent boat damage from wind and wave action. Boat fenders also protect the boat's hull from marks, marine growth or other damaging substances found on weather-worn marine pilings. Boat owners should periodically remove dirt and debris from fenders to reduce the potential for cosmetic boat damage.

Assemble your fender cleaning materials. Boat fender cleaners are available in a ready-to-apply liquid, or in a concentrate that is diluted with water. You'll need a stiff scrub brush, clean rags and a source of running water for both types of cleaners. Obtain a mixing bucket for a concentrated fender cleaner.

Apply your fender cleaning solution. Run water over the fender before you squeeze or spray the ready-to-use cleaner. Scrub vigorously with a stiff brush, and repeat as needed to remove stubborn grime. Pour the proper amount of fender cleaner concentrate into a bucket, and add running water per the manufacturer's directions. Scrub thoroughly to remove dirt and debris from fender indentations and ridges.

Rinse the fenders thoroughly. Rinse the cleaning solution off the fenders, using a clean rag if necessary. Do not allow any solution to remain on the fenders.

Items you will need

  • Boat fender cleaner
  • Stiff scrub brush
  • Clean rags
  • Source of running water
  • Bucket (if applicable)


  • The Bellingham, Wash., Yacht Club suggests using auto white sidewall tire cleaner to clean fenders.

About the Author

Based in North Carolina, Felicia Greene has written professionally since 1986. Greene edited sailing-related newsletters and designed marketing programs for the New Bern, N.C. "Sun Journal" and New Bern Habitat ReStore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Baltimore.

Photo Credits